How do I get a job in London? This is one of the most frequent questions I get from people all over the world. I do apologize if I have not managed to answer you all but here is a long, and hopefully comprehensive response.
Are you legally allowed to work in the UK? If yes, then it is already 1 less hurdle for you to go through. Rock up to London and start looking. It depends what you do and what kind of job are you after. Do you speak fluent English? Do you need to learn English first? We all start somewhere. There are loads of bar/restaurant jobs if you are just looking to get by while figuring things out – Soho, The City, Maryleborne are full of places you can knock on the door and ask for a job. Remember one thing for London – it is extremely competitive. If this is not in your nature (yes, even for an entry level role) I would say maybe chose another city.
Competition is high, the number of people applying for roles is high but there is also a (seemingly) healthy job market.
Here are some tips from me, as a person who has an active role in hiring people a lot of the time:
- Know your stuff – It sounds obvious but you will be surprised the amount of people who come unprepared for interviews, do not read the job specs or are simply not even interested in the role. You should be knowledgeable about the new trends in the field you are applying in, who is who, what are the key topics discussed at the moment. If you apply for digital roles (my industry) please have a digital presence, I always find it weird interviewing people for a role in digital, who have no presence or interests online…If you have exaggerated in your CV (and yes we all do, world peace and everything) be ready to back it all up.
- Research the company – this is important, keen interest and knowledge of the industry and the product can give you the competitive edge. A lot of people are plain lazy when it comes to interviewing , and do not bother to research. I work in Digital, and so often have people applying for digital roles who have never even opened the website.. I mean?!??!?!
- Smile – a thing that is not intuitive for a lot of people but makes a heap of difference. I had a bit of a cultural shock on this one when I came to the UK, as everyone is just so smiley all the time. I was not, I mean i am Eastern European, we are kind of the inventors of a resting b*tch face ahem… I learnt the hard way, after another candidate got chosen for a job I applied for because they felt she was a more positive person. Instead of learning it the way i did, smile and wave, smile and wave.
4. Help me, help you – tell the person looking to hire you, why should do it? How are you going to solve their problems. At the end of the day, a job is there because someone needs help with something, you potentially have a skill for. Tell them, how are you going to make their life easier. A lot of people just forget about this aspect of interviewing but an interviewer will always look for it in your answers.
If the paperwork is a problem:
OK, it has gotten tougher getting in the UK job market, if you need sponsorship. Companies are a little bit more apprehensive given the unclear Brexit vision and where is the UK headed overall. Having said that, for the right person, companies will still go the extra mile and support the sponsorship process. However, I am not going to lie – it is not an easy journey. As per my first point – there are a LOT of people already here, who are highly competitive, aiming at the same roles. Look up jobs online, maintain your LinkedIn profile up to date (if you do not have one, create one), create networks and connect to people who can potentially help out on LinkedIn. I am not sure how people use this platform in other countries but here, it is pretty good for recruitment, it even has a jobs section that may be of use.
I will advise you to look up the Government website for all the possibilities. There is no magic solution, if you need a work visa in order to work legally int he UK. A lot of you guys ask me for advice, from different countries in the world. Unfortunately there are no hidden avenues, that have not been discussed online already. Pretty much what you see on the website is what you get. I am not trying to brush things off, if I knew a way I would love to share it with you. Usually your options are: sponsorship, spousal visa, student visa (not allowing for full time work), asylum or stateless. If you do not fall within any of these categories, I am not sure I can offer you an in-between answer.
Good luck, would love to hear your thoughts or experiences in the comments.